creating art

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories

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Recently I’ve come across several articles and stories about creativity and inspiration that have challenged me. The whole New York Times magazine this weekend was dedicated to inspiration, and featured a wide sampling of artists, writers and creatives voicing what sparked their decision to make a certain work, pursue a certain field, etc… What I found was that their motives were very accessible. What inspired them could inspire me – and you – and perhaps the decision to take action was what really made us different. Of course, everyone interviewed had tons of talent, but who’s to say that you and I don’t?

When driving back from a recent wedding there was a Ted radio hour airing on NPR and one of the interviews was with Billy Collins. You can listen to it here!) One of the things that stuck with me most was a favorite saying of a friend Collins that he quoted:

“If at first you don’t succeed hide all evidence that you tried.” 

I love the honesty of that, because how often are we afraid to fail and therefore never even try – or hide the fact that we did try? Everyone I know that has been successful has also failed, and without failing they probably wouldn’t be the person they currently are. Collins had some great things to say about creativity, and it’s so refreshing to hear from artists (whether poets, painters, photographers, etc…) and realize they struggle with the same things I struggle with, they doubt themselves as much as I do, and it’s that vulnerable process of exposing yourself to failure that ultimately leads you to success.

So, I decided to do something that I haven’t done in a while. I’m creating new work, you might even say making art (or at least trying to) outside of the field of wedding photography. Before I started my business, I studied fine art in college, worked exclusively in the darkroom, and was unsure how I would use my degree to have a a career or real job. Once I found that I could have a job in a creative field – first as a graphic designer and now as a photographer, I faced a challenge many working creatives come across: finding time and energy to make new work.

I’m making it a priority to make time for creativity, inspiration and creating as a result. I think it’s refreshing my whole perspective and I think will allow me to be a better photographer in all areas (including weddings!) If there’s something you’ve been thinking of trying, creating or doing, I hope this post helped inspire you to take action; or if you’ve been in a similar place as I have, leave a comment and share your thoughts!

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